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U.S. Calls For Release Of Belarusian Political Prisoners

The United States has called for the release of all political prisoners in Belarus on the third anniversary of a crackdown by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government against opposition forces, protesters, and free media.

After a disputed presidential election on December 19, 2010, hundreds of protesters and activists were detained in Belarus.

"We remember the political prisoners who remain in detention and reiterate our call for their immediate and unconditional release and the restoration of their political rights," U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement on December 19.

Harf reminded the Belarusian government that a joint U.S.-Belarus statement on December 1, 2010 "affirmed that enhanced respect for democracy and human rights remains central to improving bilateral relations, and is essential to the progress of Belarus and its citizens."
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